Snakes generally avoid humans as much as possible, but a snake that feels threatened may bite. A bite by a venomous species, such as a rattlesnake, can be deadly if the victim doesn’t receive prompt medical treatment. An individual who has been bitten by a rattlesnake should be transported to a hospital as quickly as possible. In the meantime, there are steps that others can take to help.
Effects of a Rattlesnake Bite
A person who has been bitten by a rattlesnake may experience bleeding, swelling around the site of the bite, a change in the color of the skin, tingling, and numbness. The individual may have a rapid pulse, low blood pressure, and difficulty breathing. A person who has suffered a rattlesnake bite may vomit and may feel weak and fatigued.
Some people have an allergic reaction to rattlesnake venom and go into anaphylaxis. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include itching; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat; a rapid pulse; difficulty breathing; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; dizziness; confusion; cold and clammy skin; and a loss of consciousness.
How to Treat a Rattlesnake Bite
While you’re waiting for first responders to arrive, wash and inspect the wound, noting any changes in the appearance or temperature of the skin. Wrap the site of the bite and a large area around it, such as the entire arm or leg, to slow the spread of venom. Begin at the part of the limb farthest from the heart and wrap a bandage in overlapping layers. If the person is wearing a ring or watch, remove it before the limb swells up.
Keep the part of the body that was bitten below the heart and keep the victim as still as possible. Don’t use a tourniquet or cold compress, cut the wound, or try to suck out the venom. Don’t give the victim any medication, food, or water.
Give Medical Personnel Helpful Information
If you can take a photo of the rattlesnake from a safe distance, that can help doctors identify the species and administer the appropriate antivenom to the patient. Don’t try to catch or kill the snake. Don’t handle it, even if it’s dead because a reflex reaction can cause a dead snake to continue biting.
Take a First Aid Kit with You When You Go Hiking or Camping
If you spend time in the wilderness, make sure that you have a first aid kit so you’ll be prepared to deal with a rattlesnake bite or another type of emergency. 1st Aid Supplies sells kits that include essentials, such as gauze, bandages, and dressings. Order a first aid kit from 1st Aid Supplies today.